When did you start dancing at Yes, You Can Dance!?
I have been serving as a dance mentor since the inception of Yes You Can Dance! 5 years ago. I have mentored all 5 levels in the Special Needs classes plus danced every routine to date with the Performance Team. Additionally, I have served as a host at the senior dance socials and gone into the nursing homes to dance with the residents. I also was involved in organizing and serving as a dance mentor for the MS dance classes. I am one of the original board members of Yes You Can Dance, but will be stepping down soon to allow new board members to come on.
What do you love about Yes, You Can Dance!?
I love dancing with all of the populations that are served by Yes You Can Dance! The Special Needs dancers are such a joy to work with and I am so glad I’ve had the opportunity to get to know these people. Working with them has been a blessing, and I am a better person for it. If I’m not smiling when I walk into the classes, I certainly am once we start dancing. Dancing with the MS population also has been a great experience. I have seen some improvements in their ability to move, but more importantly, I can see that the classes afford an opportunity for them to forget about their MS for a little while and just enjoy the social interactions they get when they dance.
When you are not dancing, what can you be found doing (hobbies, employment, etc.)?
I am a physical therapist and am on faculty in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, where I teach Anatomy and Neuroscience. I enjoy all sorts of partner dancing, and I consider myself quite fortunate in that I have a husband who also loves to dance. Because I have been living with Multiple Sclerosis for most of my life, and have a background in physical therapy and dance, I have been invited to give several talks on the many benefits of dance as it relates to wellness in the MS population.
What is a fun fact about you that you would like to share?
I have two grown boys, Duane and Danny. Duane lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and two beautiful children, Zoe and Ethan. Danny recently married and lives in Florida for a few more years until he finishes his residency, and will then hopefully return to Pittsburgh.